[Dixielandjazz] Modern Banjo was Wynton's Wild Man Blues

John McClernan mcclernan1 at comcast.net
Wed Jan 31 19:17:26 PST 2007

Steven D. is a close friend. We work together as often as possible  
and he is indeed an awesome musician. But as for creative  
improvisation, my personal ne plus ultra is Buddy Wachter, followed  
closely by Paul Scavarda. I have had some wonderful musical  
experiences on stage with each of them. What Buddy can do on banjo is  
astounding, then he can pick up a tenor banjo, a guitar, or a  
mandolin and do exactly the same. Buddy's education delved deeper  
into "legitimate" music than Paul's. For instance, did you ever hear  
Buddy play the Mozart Clarinet Concerto on banjo? Have you heard/seen  
one of his performances as the featured soloist with a major pops  
orchestra? Or have you heard him trade fours with any number of dyed- 
in-the-wool beboppers in an after-hours jam session? He is the  
consummate musician, not just string instrumentalist, in my humble  

Paul can play guitar and mandolin as well as banjo. I have seen him  
re-tune his tenor banjo during a country song, in order to sound more  
authentic on his solo. On one of our gigs together, I was doubling on  
tuba and string bass. On one of the "tuba tunes" he leaned over  
during someone else's solo and asked if I minded if he played my  
bass. I have no problem with that at all. I make no pretense about my  
abilities, so I welcome anyone who can play better than I. Well, in  
all the years I have known Paul, I have never seen him play string  
bass, yet he sounded like it was his primary double - very musical,  
creative, in tune and technical. Bravo, Paul!
That's my 2¢, for what it's worth, folks.

On Jan 31, 2007, at 12:05 PM, Gluetje1 at aol.com wrote:
> Amens and Seconds to Steve's comments about Stephen DiBonaventura  
> who has
> done one, maybe two CDs, but is probably the most awesome creative,
> improvisational jazz banjoist we have.  He certainly has his fans  
> in the  banjo
> convention world--but others "can't go there" so he gets less pats  
> on the  back in that
> world than many others do.  Steve gigs in the Philadelphia  area, is a
> Philadelphia lawyer.
> Don Vappie with his six string banjo-guitar is also doing something  
> quite
> traditional ala Danny Barker (relying on my memory for that  
> identifier).
> Vappie also a virtuoso on tenor banjo who marches to the drummer  
> that he
> hears, left the Preservation Hall Band several years ago so he  
> could create.
> _http://www.vappielle.com/_ (http://www.vappielle.com/)
> Ginny
> In a message dated 1/31/2007 10:24:31 A.M. Central Standard Time,
> barbonestreet at earthlink.net writes:
> Do an  act of contrition Fra Mike. Banjo is "modern". Stephen  
> DiBonaventura
> plays  "Confirmation" beautifully. He single strings his solo portion,
> reminding  one of Bird, and plays single string melody on the tune  
> more
> accurately  than most people do on their horns.
> He is a virtuoso banjoist as those  who attend banjo conventions  
> will attest
> and plays the hell out of trad,  country, bebop, classical etc.
> Cheers,
> Steve  Barbone

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